Records were busted like piñatas Friday evening at the Pro Cycling U.S. Grand Prix of Sprinting at the Velodrome in Memorial Park.
In the women’s flying 200 sprint, the world record — and the records of four countries — were rendered obsolete.
The biggest of those was the world record, which Germany’s Miriam Welte crushed with a time of 10.64 seconds. The previous record was held by Australia’s Anna Meares, who set it at this year’s world championships in April. While setting the world record, Welte also established standards for her nation and the Velodrome. The old track record was also held by Meares, who set in 2011.
Another German, Kristina Vogel, also beat the previous world record but did so after Welte. Welte and Vogel combined later in the evening to win the team sprint, setting a track record in the process.
The German team has been training in Colorado Springs for the past two weeks.
“The training went good here — we trained very hard (but) we didn’t prepare for competition like we normally do because the Olympics are in four weeks,” Welte said. “I knew in training it was going to be good. I never expected that I can do a world record here so I was very surprised. I saw the time and said, ‘No, that’s not true.’”
It was true. For her and several others.
Tela Crane’s time of 11.04 seconds set a U.S. record, bettering the previous mark of 11.06 set by Connie Paraskevin in September 1995.
“It was a huge surprise to me,” Crane said. “It was a huge PR. My best before this was 11.7 here last year.”
In addition, Canada’s Monique Sullivan set a record for her nation (10.84) and Willy Kanis established a record for The Netherlands (10.94). Kanis set the record just minutes after her teammate, Yvonne Hijgenaar, had done the same with a time of 10.97.
In the flying sprint, a rider completes two full laps but only the final 200 meters are timed.
In addition to the sprint, the men’s kieran was held with Germany’s Maximillan Levy taking first. His teammate, Rene Enders, was second and Andy Lakatosh of the U.S. was third. In the kieran, as many as seven riders trail a sprint cycle, reaching a speed of as much as 50 kilometers per hour. The riders maneuver for position while following the pace cycle before sprinting the final two laps to the finish. Since it’s more a tactical event, timed records are not kept.
While having so many records fall in a single evening is extraordinary under any circumstances, it makes sense that it would happen in Colorado Springs.
“Very simply, the air is thinner up here,” said Jamie Staff, the director of the U.S. Sprint program. “The air is thinner, you get less resistance and go faster. Along with that you’ve got air density, which is air temperature, humidity and pressure. It’s been blazing hot with low humidity.
“It was perfect conditions.”
Which means more records may fall Saturday and Sunday.